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Reviews for Bose A20 Aviation Headset with Bluetooth + Free Gift

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  • By on Thursday, January 25, 2018
  • Review:

    My twenty year old headset had started to fail so I decided to try the Bose A20 headset to see if the noise canceling was worth the high cost. But I wanted to make an objective evaluation. To that end I assembled some test equipment. This started with a digital sound level meter to accurately measure the ambient sound in the cockpit during cruise flight. Next I downloaded a decibel meter app for my iPhone 7. To get a sound reading from inside the headset I utilized the Apple miniature headset (EarPods with Lightning Connector) that came with the phone. The microphone on this mini headset is very small and is situated under the roughened area of plastic between the + and – symbols of the headset volume controls. Before flight, I used medical tape to attach and hold the microphone of the mini headset at the center of my ear with the microphone facing outward towards the center of the aircup of the A20 headset. I also wore my Air Force style glasses (with bayonet temples) and a baseball cap which is my norm for general aviation flying. There certainly is sound leakage getting through from these but I wanted to get an objective reading for my typical flying arrangement. In the settings of both the digital sound lever meter and the iPhone app, I choose to use a weighting level of A which most closely corresponds to the human hearing range.

    I choose three aircraft that I fly regularly to do measurements in, a 150 hp Citabria, a 180hp Cessna 172RG and an Airbus A-320. First I took sound level readings in the cockpit during cruise flight with the Bose A20 headset momentarily off my head to calibrate the decibel meter app on my iPhone to equal the sound level readings on the digital sound level meter. (The app had an adjustment scale for this in settings.) Now that I had an accurate phone app sound level reading, I put the Bose A20 headset on first without noise cancelation and then with.

    In the Citabria, the sound level was a very high 100 dB in cruise flight. Without noise cancelation, this was reduced to 97-98 dB. According to the website dangerousdecibels dot com, a 97 dB level of sound can result in hearing damage within only 30 minutes of exposure. Next I turned on the A20 noise cancelation and found that the sound level inside the headset was reduced to 82 dB. At this level, according to the website, there is no risk of hearing damage.
    In the Cessna 172RG, the sound level was 95 dB in cruise flight. Test results were much the same, without noise cancelation sound was reduced to 92 dB and with noise cancelation down to 77 dB.

    Finally in the A-320, the cruise sound level was only 82 dB to start with so there is no real risk of hearing damage. The Bose A20 results in the A-320 were a reduction to 79 dB without noise canceling and down to 66 dB with. But since there isn’t a risk of hearing damage to begin with, I wouldn’t go to the effort of bringing a headset with me for flying this aircraft.

    On a side note, I conducted similar tests on a brand new David Clark H10-13.4 headset. The sound level reduction in the Citabria was from 100 dB to 90 dB and from 95 dB to 85 dB in the C-172RG. Keep in mind that I was wearing a pair of glasses and a baseball cap so there was sound leakage from those.
    A few observations, the Bose A20 does a great job of reducing sound when its noise canceling is working but if it isn’t working, there is just not much passive noise canceling there to prevent hearing damage in very loud aircraft. The Bose A20 does a very good job of making the radios easier to hear. ATC never sounded so crisp and clear than when I was wearing the A20 with the noise canceling. On the other side of the coin, I noticed that during early takeoff in the Citabria the Bose A20 had a tough time keeping up with the changing sound and did let through a spike of high sound that actually kind of hurt my ears but only for a moment. Also on one day in which I wore the Bose A20 headset for an hour and half flight in the Citabria, in continuous noise canceling mode, after getting home and sitting in a quiet room I experienced a faint, high pitched ringing in my ears. Perhaps there’s a high frequency sound level that the A20 doesn’t work as well with in the Citabria. I’m not sure. I did not experience this after flying in the C-172RG. But on taxi in after the flight in the C-172RG, I did notice that the Bose was having some trouble keeping up with the very low frequency sound of the 180HP engine at idle.

    All in all I think the Bose A20 is an excellent headset. But if you are flying a very loud aircraft, I would definitely recommend carrying a spare set of batteries and/or earplugs to protect yourself with in case the noise canceling feature stops working.

  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 26 Other people found this review helpful.
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very good

  • By A Customer from Danbury CT on Wednesday, February 12, 2014
  • Pros: sound
  • Cons: shuts off when not plugged into aircraft
  • Review: I'm a commercial pilot and recent flight instructor and needed an upgrade. Much better than my $120 pair of ASA headsets. Sound is very clear and noise canceling is great. Only bad thing is when I listen to music with them outside of the airplane (i don't listen to music inside the plane) they shut off every 7 minutes or so.
    [Note from MyPilotStore:  There is an Auto-Off dip-switch in the battery compartment that will correct the issue with auto-shutoff.]
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 14 Other people found this review helpful.
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Very Happy

  • By Melon from Chicago IL USA on Thursday, March 22, 2012
  • Pros: Clearer communications, less fatigue, comfortable.
  • Cons: Expensive, voice pass thru could be better.
  • Review: This has been a good purchase for me. As a copilot on B-767's I have found this to be a wonderful product. I get to my destination much less fatigued and my hearing takes less time to readjust to the surroundings. As a commercial pilot the Bluetooth is an unneeded upgrade and I wish the external voice pass though was a little better. With no active interphone on my aircraft, I find myself pulling the left earcup off during the departure and approach phase to hear the Captain, but since the noise level then is very low, it's not a big deal. I do find myself missing far fewer controller calls then I did in the past with an open air headset.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 14 Other people found this review helpful.
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Excellent tool for professionals and amateurs

  • By A Customer from Pont-la-Ville Switzerland on Thursday, November 03, 2011
  • Pros: ANC just perfect
  • Cons: Weight, wearing glasses
  • Review: I am an airliner pilot. I flew big jet aircraft. Went professionally back to a turboprop. All "light" portable headsets available on the market were providing some coverage but never a total quietness. You'll find this with this Bose A20. Untired from constant noise of the engines you may even get out of your duty "fresh as a rose", as really no outside disturbing high and low freq. noise is perceptive. Strongly recommend you use rechargeable batteries of course. The headset is sold with a small bag, protecting your expensive tool from all external damages. One or two negative thing though. If you wear glasses or sunglasses the noise reduction is only effective when totally sealed around your ears. Wearing glasses or sunglasses allows a tiny "gap" and you'll hear just a bit (do not exaggerate either!) of the external noises, but no excessive pressure is felt on your ears!! Second thing for professionals the headset is quite "heavy" on long duties but I personally think that toward the comfort it provides compared to all my previous headsets you'll forget about it very easily. Headset is efficient and reliable. Not a doubt I would buy it again.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 11 Other people found this review helpful.
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Whole new world

  • By A Customer from Royal Oak MD USA on Monday, March 30, 2015
  • Pros: Nice sound, bluetooth integration
  • Cons: Cost, heavy stiff cord, cable clamps
  • Review: Really changed my audio environment and the integration with my phone bluetooth has simplified all the FSS and other comm tasks. The user controls are bit over-complicated, but learnable. Wish the thickness of headband was less - hinge bumps ceiling too often. Cable clamps can snap and spring apart.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 11 Other people found this review helpful.
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The Best ANR out there, BUT

  • By Randy from Phoenix AZ USA on Tuesday, November 14, 2017
  • Pros: Excellent noise cancelling and bluetooth convenience
  • Cons: Doesn't fold compactly and eats batteries
  • Review: I bought a DC Pro-X first and it has a distinct hiss that was associated with the ANR feature and the on-the-ear style kept sliding off my head when I looked down. So I bought the Bose A-20s which stayed in place and had no hiss. However, they take up half the flight kit. Bose could have come up with a clever mechanism to make them fold more compactly and retain their durability. I replaced the batteries in the DC-Pro 3 times in 6 months, but I replace the batteries on this about every 3rd or 4th trip.So in addition to carrying a large Tupperware container to protect them in the flight kit, I have to lug around sufficient batteries. Having said that, I would not go back to the DC Pro-X. I think Bose should have come up with a TSO'd clone of the U-Fly Mike and utilized the QC platform
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 10 Other people found this review helpful.

Squeaky noise in the left ear cup

  • By Russ from Florida on Monday, December 26, 2011
  • Pros: The best ANR in the industry.
  • Cons: Squeak in the left ear cup
  • Review: Bought this product to replace my aging Bose X. Bose X needed an upgrade because, after 2 years of use (at 2-4 flight hours per day, commercial flying) it started to develop a warbling noise in the left ear cup followed by the ANR turning off few seconds later. The new A20 worked A-OK until I noticed a strange squeaky sound in the left cup every time I remove the headset of move the left ear cup away from my ear. Although, in general, A20 is much quiter then Bose X and Zulu 2.0, this squeak seems like an annoying under-engineering, especially for such price. 4 out of 5, overall.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 10 Other people found this review helpful.
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Game changer

  • By Jamie from Minneapolis MN USA on Monday, March 25, 2013
  • Pros: Good-bye loud airplane. Light and comfortable. Well constructed.
  • Cons: Now that the airplane is quiet, where's good music audio? Bluetooth has minimal features.
  • Review: Now and then some technology comes along that changes the game. That's the case with the A20. Spendy up front, but well made and, moreover, well worth it in terms of making the noisy aircraft environment startlingly and spooky quiet. I love it! My only complaint is that they need to refine the BlueTooth inerface and the music audio. Let's face it, on long cross country flights, great sound is fun. Bose drops that ball here. When I bought this headset, I was looking to buy a pair (pilot and copilot). I also bought the Sennheiser S1 thinking I'd try 'em both, then return the second in exchange for the winning set. I've kept one of each. The A20 to get rid of noise (local flights) and the Sennheiser S1 for fun cross-country. The Sennheiser's noise-cancellation is okay, but the A20's is stunning.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 10 Other people found this review helpful.
  • Verified Purchase

  • By Coleman from Portland ME USA on Thursday, September 08, 2011
  • Pros: Foremost:: AMERICAN built! Very quiet and comfortable, great phone interface.
  • Cons: Still getting interference noise from cell phone during send and recieve of email & text just like on my Bose X's
  • Review:
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 9 Other people found this review helpful.
  • Verified Purchase

  • By A Customer from intel on Tuesday, September 15, 2015
  • Pros: Good value.
  • Cons:
  • Review: Good item. Easy to use.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 9 Other people found this review helpful.
  • Verified Purchase

Good Stuff

  • By Gary from Tracy CA USA on Monday, May 16, 2016
  • Pros: better than average noise canceling
  • Cons: The controller-battery holder needs more options to place it
  • Review: There is always room for improvement
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 8 Other people found this review helpful.
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All that glitters is not gold

  • By GLEN from Lompoc CA USA on Saturday, June 04, 2016
  • Pros: Excellent sound quality.
  • Cons: Cord too short which limits where you can place the control module.
  • Review: No question Bose makes quality stuff and the A20 is a quality headset. I just wish the cords were longer. I bought the portable model and discovered the length of cord between the plug-in jack and the control module is too short preventing me from placing the module in a convenient location.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 8 Other people found this review helpful.
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siginificant improvement in my open cockpit

  • By A Customer from Freeland MD USA on Thursday, March 22, 2012
  • Pros: comfortable fit. Reduced noise level
  • Cons: mike sometimes cuts out in wind
  • Review: A significant improvement on the noise level and communication in my open cockpit biplane. The comfort is also wonderful and it fit nicely into my David Clark Helmet. I do notice that it sometimes cuts out if too much wind hits the mike and I have to cover the mike with my free hand. I am very pleased
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 8 Other people found this review helpful.
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Great product

  • By Edward from Auckland New Zealand on Tuesday, May 22, 2012
  • Pros: Great noise cancellation
  • Cons: I guess this is a bit on a conundrum, the great noise cancellation makes it hard to hear the stall warnings
  • Review: Great headset, as a new pilot I wanted the best and that's why I went Bose. Don't regret it and would highly recomend it
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 8 Other people found this review helpful.

Great headset!

  • By A Customer from Portland, oregon on Thursday, September 20, 2012
  • Pros: ANR is great makes it easier to hear ATC and others inside.
  • Cons: Cost, would like to be able to use the Bluetooth for more like other headsets allow.
  • Review: Haven't used it a lot yet, but I will be daily. People seem to have issues if they want to use the Bluetooth to listen to music but, I have had no issues if I use my phone to play music over the bluetooth, a Nokia N8. When I tried the same on my IPad or an android phone it didn't work, not sure why this is but it is. Other than that it works great!
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 7 Other people found this review helpful.
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We are keeping them

  • By David from Dallas TX USA on Wednesday, January 13, 2016
  • Pros: Quiet
  • Cons: too quiet at times
  • Review: Headset is comfortable and quiet - too quiet. I like to be able to hear noises on start, taxi, takeoff and landing. I choose to turn the active noise off at this time but use it otherwise. This is personal preference. I have left it on during landing and didn't realize until after. The passive noise cancelling is good too. I have only worn them for a little over 3 hours with no issue.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 7 Other people found this review helpful.
  • Verified Purchase

  • By Scott power line pilot from Anniston AL USA on Friday, September 13, 2013
  • Pros: All great
  • Cons: The clips keep coming off their holders on the cables
  • Review: Love the headset.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 7 Other people found this review helpful.
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A good product.

  • By Phil from Berry NSW Australia on Thursday, July 06, 2017
  • Review:

     

  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 7 Other people found this review helpful.
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I can't believe that I flew without these.

  • By Sight2020 from NY USA on Thursday, January 21, 2016
  • Pros: Clear voices, great noise cancellation
  • Cons: short cord between the plugs and control unit
  • Review: I can't believe that I flew without these. The noise cancellation is amazing. A quite cockpit, clear audio both from the tower and my Iphone. This product deserves 5 stars but I would have liked a bit more cord between the plugs and the control unit so I gave it 4 stars
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 7 Other people found this review helpful.
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If you fly a lot... Invest in the best...

  • By Mack from Valparaiso IN USA on Monday, May 23, 2016
  • Pros: Effective sound reduction, comfort, control box simplicity, and bluetooth clarity
  • Cons: Price, (but you knew that already)
  • Review: Really like the new headset. I do occasionally get some blow by, as in air coming around the ear cups, but there is nothing better than hitting that control button and having the noise disappear. Bluetooth works well as I have had to make several calls sitting on the taxiway and having to pick up IFR clearances by phone.. My wife says that even with the engines running at idle, when I call her on the headsets it sounds better than when I am directly talking into the phone regularly... (as in when not flying and without engine noise).

    Was surprised that they dont build in a light source, (I fly a lot in evening and at night) which I solved easily with a Streamlight Clipmate, attached above the left ear cup with a couple of zip ties... Now I have two levels of white and two levels of red, and a goose neck to direct it... USB rechargable, and Works spiffy!!!! Look around for pricing, as it should be about 27 bucks which is what I paid for it from the Flashlight Outlet locally.
    http://www.amazon.com/Streamlight-ClipMate-Rechargeable-Clip-Adaptor/dp/B00HZAX9GA

    If you wear a ball cap regularly when flying, its even easier and just clips on the cap bill, so you can leave it in your flight bag...
    Overall I am very satisfied with the purchase.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 7 Other people found this review helpful.
  • Verified Purchase

AMAZING NOISE ATTENUATION

  • By David from Bay Head NJ USA on Thursday, September 04, 2014
  • Review: Quiet and comfortable but didn't work 100% with my old phone.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 6 Other people found this review helpful.
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Expensive but good

  • By Bruce from Monroe GA USA on Thursday, September 15, 2016
  • Pros: Noise cancelation is great
  • Cons: Battery pack in the way
  • Review: Great sound but battery pack on Helicopter Model is not positioned correctly on cord always gets in way when you move around
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 6 Other people found this review helpful.

I Thought the Engine Quit!

  • By Marvin-Baby Bonanza from Texas on Monday, July 28, 2014
  • Pros: Quiet. BlueTooth to phone.
  • Cons: Have to hard wire to i-Pad for ForeFlight audio alerts.
  • Review: Started engine, put A20 on. Forgot to turn it on. Hit power button. Thought engine quit. High dollar headset should not require hard wire for music/other devices.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 6 Other people found this review helpful.
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Too effiecient for the A320

  • By Kurt from Milton FL USA on Friday, May 25, 2018
  • Pros: Comfort, good sound quality, noise cancelling
  • Cons: Hard to hear engines, automated call outs, chimes.
  • Review: The noise cancelling with this product is too good for an already relatively quiet A320 cockpit. It's hard to hear the engine pitch changes and automated call outs. However, if I were a GA pilot flying a Cessna or something like that it would be perfect.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 6 Other people found this review helpful.
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Great product, but needs auto power-on

  • By Michael from Agoura Hills CA USA on Monday, September 20, 2010
  • Pros: Quiet, Bluetooth works well
  • Cons: Needs to be turned-on manually each time you use the headset
  • Review: This is a nice upgrade, quieter than the Bose Aviation X headsets and the Bluetooth works great. One problem with this set is that, unlike the Aviation X, this new A20 panel-powered headset doesn't turn-on automatically, like the Aviation X units did. So if you forget to turn it on, you may have a hard time communicating until you can locate the power module and turn on the unit. I liked how the previous Aviation X units did this automatically. I haven't seen any settings that let me make this unit come on automatically when panel power is available.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 6 Other people found this review helpful.
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A20

  • By Jacob from Sydney, NSW, Australia on Friday, January 18, 2013
  • Pros:
  • Cons: Passive noise reduction is not great an lets in a lot more noise then the old dodgy set that has been at my flight school for what seems like 100 years. But as long as you have batteries for ANR, it shouldn't be a problem.
  • Review: Very good headset. ANR is great! Passive noise reduction isn't amazing especially when wearing sun glasses, which is 95% of the time.
    Very comfy and light on my head but strong enough clamping that they don't move during aerobatics. Very good bag.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 6 Other people found this review helpful.
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Comfortable, quiet, over-sensitive mic

  • By Jason from Tacoma WA USA on Thursday, June 01, 2017
  • Pros: Light and very comfortable, quiet, Bluetooth
  • Cons: Expensive, over-sensitive mic, short cord
  • Review: Obviously these are pricey. Overall, I think they're worth it. They are the most comfortable headset I've ever worn; even after wearing them for hours, I don't get any hot spots on my head or ears. Noise reduction is good, although I only have passive headsets and an old Bose Aviation X to compare (I don't feel the NR is significantly better than the Av-Xs). The Bluetooth is great--worth the extra $100.

    The cord (I have 2-plug std GA version) is too short; for the cost, they should give you some more copper. Also, the mic seems overly sensitive--more than any other headset I own. I have difficulty keeping it from picking up my breathing and cockpit air currents (wind noise) in quiet cockpits (B-737).
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 5 Other people found this review helpful.
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Good buy for the serious pilot

  • By Trey from Brentwood CA USA on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
  • Pros: Noise cancelling, bluetooth, aux in port.
  • Cons: Volume adjuster is rather large
  • Review: After first few flights with instructor he recommended buying my own headset and these are a better alternative to renting
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 4 Other people found this review helpful.
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Great noise cancelling

  • By Kalvin from Chad, Africa on Friday, December 16, 2011
  • Pros: Great noise cancelling with comfortable earseals.
  • Cons: Padding on top could be better. Get some pain on the top of my head during longer flights.
  • Review: I am very satisfied with my Bose A20! The noise cancelling puts my former ANR headset to shame. I love the comfortable earseals. The quality of sound is impressive so the bluetooth is great for listening to music during flight.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 4 Other people found this review helpful.
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You won't regret it!

  • By A Customer from BELGIUM on Monday, August 01, 2011
  • Review: Very good purchase, on all aspect, a bit disappointed by the fact it uses more battery than expected but still really reasonable. Maybe the shape of my head I don't know but the little cushion lets some connection cables pushing through it and in some position it can become uncomfortable, I'm sure there is a solution to that though like refitting the cushion differently, or something like, but note that I'm using it on line flights and for long succeeding periods as well.

    Overall very good product and will certainly reduce stress and fatigue level significantly, thats for sure!
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 3 Other people found this review helpful.
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Pros and con

  • By Israel from Mission TX USA on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Pros: Comfort, clarity
  • Cons: Tether to hold back door for batteries is rubber and detached easily.
  • Review: Overall a really nice headset. Steep pricing but then again I'm a new pilot and don't want to spend money twice so I just bought the best of the best.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 3 Other people found this review helpful.
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With price comes excellence

  • By A Customer from NJ USA on Friday, October 29, 2010
  • Pros: Great sound, comfortable
  • Cons: Cost
  • Review: The A20 is great. I purchased the A20 about one month ago and to this day have not had one complaint with them. The sound quality is amazing. I have not have a problem hearing or being heard. The A20 is great for long flights as well because they are pain free. One of the most comfortable headset I have ever worn. Bluetooth is a cool feature however, still have yet to use it. I have played around with it, but still have not used it for its full purpose yet. I would recommend purchasing this product if you have an extra 1000 dollars lying around. However, that is the only flaw I see with the A20 and my only reason for giving it a 4 star rating instead of 5.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 2 Other people found this review helpful.
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Almost perfect

  • By Craig from Melbourne VIC Australia on Sunday, March 13, 2011
  • Pros: ANR is great. Comfort is great. Batteries last for the advertised time.
  • Cons: Very intermittent static through right side speaker
  • Review: Everything is great except for some occasional static type noise on the right side. Only happens 1 flight out of about 40, but it's still very annoying when it happens.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 2 Other people found this review helpful.
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  • By on Wednesday, February 27, 2019
  • Review: I've had the BT volume button broken, and no customer service available in Brazil.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 1 Other people found this review helpful.
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Great but not amazing

  • By Graham from San Jose CA USA on Wednesday, August 21, 2019
  • Pros:
  • Cons: Price
  • Review: The noise cancelling is fantastic, the bluetooth capabilities work well, and the overall feel of the headset is great. It is very comfortable even while flying for several hours. Only downside - the cost. The item is not worth the +$1,000.
  • Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 1 Other people found this review helpful.